Class 4A Boys: Baldwin 54, Fayette County 53

The Baldwin Braves won the 2021 Class 4A championship by beating Fayette County 54-53 at the Macon Coliseum.

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The Baldwin Braves won the 2021 Class 4A championship by beating Fayette County 54-53 at the Macon Coliseum.

There was only one player who Baldwin coach Anthony Webb wanted to take the last shot in the Class 4A championship game, and William Freeman showed why he got the call.

The sturdy 6-foot-4 senior drove to the basket and made a short jumper with 3.8 seconds left to give the Braves the lead. His shot kissed the front iron, bounced off the glass and through the net to help Baldwin snatch a 54-53 victory away from Fayette County.

Fayette County called timeout to set up a last play and cleared it to Kaleb Banks, the Region 5 Player of the Year, whose shot hit the rim and bounced away as time expired. Banks left the court in tears and was still being consoled by coach Andre Flynn 20 minutes after the game.

“I’d been thinking about a play,” Webb said. “I told (Freeman) he could drive it and shoot it … and he didn’t disappoint. He’s been playing since he was 14. He’s our go-to guy. He’s our leader. He might miss a few shots here and there, but he’ll come back and make a big shot. That’s why I wanted the ball in his hands.”

Freeman scored 12 points, making 5 of 11 from the floor, including a pair of 3′s. He had four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

“I came off the screen and stepped in and knocked it down,” Freeman said. “Everybody doubted us. Everybody believed they were going to win. We had to believe.”

Baldwin (17-0) won its first state championship since 1981. The Braves also got 12 points from Rudolph Satcher and 11 points from Lataeveon Roach.

Fayette County (18-12) was led by Terry Brown with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Tariq Mumphery added 11 points, and Banks had eight points and seven rebounds. Banks played only three minutes in the first half after taking a shot to his right eye that required stitches.

The score was tied 52-52 after Baldwin’s Jermyus Simmons made one of two free throws with 1:57 left, but Banks made a free throw six seconds later to put Fayette County ahead by one.

Fayette County had the momentum after Baldwin’s Satcher was whistled for charging and Banks went to the line with 21.3 seconds left. But he missed both free throws and Baldwin called a timeout to set up the final play.

“I’m so proud of these kids because they work so hard,” Webb said. “The kids said they used to come over here when they were little and watch games at the Macon Coliseum. Now they got the opportunity to play for a state championship.

“The atmosphere caught a lot of them off guard because they’d never been here. A lot of them were nervous, but they finally settled down and played.”

Fayette County – 13-12-15-13—53

Baldwin – 12-16-15-11 – 54

Fayette County: Terry Brown 14, Kaleb Banks 8, R.J. Kennedy 9, Tariq Mumphery 11, Cardell Bailey 9, Donavon Hand 2.

Baldwin: Miles Bolston 5, Jermyus Simmons 8, Rudolph Satcher 12, William Freeman 12, Jacobi Nixon 2, Lataeveon Roach 11, Jahzi Norman 2, Shatavious Hogan 2.